THE DOCTORAL PROGRAMME OF THE FACULTY OF MATHEMATICS AND NATURAL SCIENCES AND ITS PRACTICES
Postgraduate studies and completing licentiate and doctoral degrees is an integral part of the education and research activities of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and its departments. The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences produces one of the highest numbers of doctoral degrees per year of the faculties of the University of Turku. The objective of the doctoral programme of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences is to organise postgraduate courses that are central for the postgraduate students of the faculty or for certain discipline entities in the faculty and that complement the courses organised by the University of Turku Graduate School. The doctoral programme of the faculty is coordinated by a management team that also develops its practices in collaboration with the departments, the faculty?s Working Group for Educational Development and the Faculty Council.
The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Turku offers postgraduate degrees in natural sciences and mathematics, as well as technology. The postgraduate degrees in Natural Sciences and Mathematics are the Licentiate of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy. The postgraduate degrees in Technology are the Licentiate of Science (Technology) and Doctor of Science (Technology). Most postgraduate students complete a full doctoral degree directly after their Master?s degree. The licentiate degree is primarily intended for professional accreditation.
All students pursuing postgraduate degrees in the faculty belong to the doctoral programme of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. At the same time, they can also be postgraduate students of some other local, national or international doctoral programme, in the activities of which the faculty or one of its departments participates. The faculty?s dean responsible for postgraduate education is in charge of the faculty?s doctoral programme. The management team of the faculty?s doctoral programme consists of the deans, the Head of Student and Academic Affairs and the Head of Administration. The faculty?s Working Group for Educational Development discusses matters related to postgraduate studies if need be. The Faculty Council grants the permission for the defence of the thesis at a public examination and grades the doctoral theses.
FIELDS OF RESEARCH
The faculty offers postgraduate degrees in Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the following disciplines and in related research fields:
- Biochemistry: biochemistry, food chemistry, molecular biotechnology and diagnostics, molecular plant biology
- Biology: biology, ecology, physiology and genetics, evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology, biodiversity research
- Physics: physics, materials science, theoretical physics
- Geology: geology, geology and mineralogy, quaternary geology, applied geology
- Chemistry: chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, natural compound chemistry, materials chemistry, organic chemistry, radiochemistry
- Geography: geography, physical geography, human geography, regional geography, geoinformatics, economic geography
- Mathematics: mathematics, analysis, discrete mathematics, mathematical modelling
- Computer science: computer science, information systems
- Environmental science
The faculty offers postgraduate degrees in Technology in the following fields of research:
- Analytical biotechnology
- Food development
- Information and communication technology
1. ADMISSION TO POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
Applicants for postgraduate studies must have a relevant Master's degree or an equivalent and suitable foreign qualification, which in the country in question would entitle them to a similar level of higher education and which has provided them with sufficient knowledge and skills to carry out postgraduate studies in the field of research. Other candidates may also be accepted if the faculty considers they possess sufficient knowledge and skills for the studies.
APPLYING (Next call for new post-graduate students is open until April 30th)
The primary route to postgraduate studies is through the faculty?s departments, and the researchers and their research groups in the departments. By creating personal connections with the professor and other researchers in the field of research of the planned licentiate or doctoral thesis, the prospective postgraduate student has the best chances to prepare a viable plan for postgraduate studies.
Applicants for the faculty?s doctoral programme must complete an application form and hand it in or send it to the faculty. Admission decisions are made by the faculty.
The application form consists of the following sections:
- the applicant?s personal information and the previous degree/studies
- the field of research of the degree to be completed and the doctoral programme
- the topic or subject matter of the doctoral thesis or the licentiate research
- a research plan and an account of the planned funding and schedule of the studies
- postgraduate studies supervisor(s), research director and thesis advisory committee
- preliminary personal study plan
- the department?s statement on the application
As the main rule, those who have been admitted to national network programmes or international doctoral programmes can be admitted with the same application to the faculty?s doctoral programme. If necessary, the application is complemented for the faculty?s acceptance.
For a degree in a foreign language, the application must be attached with an English translation in addition to a copy of the degree certificate. Before receiving their study entitlement, successful candidates must provide the faculty office with the original certificates of the degrees, studies and other achievements on which the admission decision was based.
Applicants are selected on the basis of the information presented in the application and its appendices. Postgraduate applicants are required to have completed the advanced studies in the undergraduate degree with a "Good?? grade. If this is not the case, or if the subject of the undergraduate degree differs from the field of research of the intended postgraduate studies, candidates will be asked to supplement their knowledge and skills to achieve the required level. Admission is also dependent on the proposed research topic fitting within the faculty?s fields of research and the faculty possessing the necessary resources for teaching and supervision.
The application is made in collaboration with the staff of the department and it is attached with a statement from the department to whose field of research the degree belongs. The decision on admission to postgraduate studies is made by the dean responsible for postgraduate education. The student admission decision in the faculty is prepared by the Head of Student and Academic Affairs.
POSTGRADUATE STUDENT?S RESPONSIBILITIES
The postgraduate student has the primary responsibility for the progress of studies. The responsibilities of the postgraduate student are defined as follows:
- the student carefully prepares for the meetings and follows the agreed timetables;
- the student completes postgraduate studies independently with the supervisor?s support;
- the student annually participates in the agreed number of postgraduate courses and ensures that they are appropriately registered;
- the student is responsible for the progress of the thesis project and research and for informing the supervisor on the progress made according to the agreed reporting schedule and in the agreed way;
- the student informs the supervisor (thesis advisory committee) of all the changes that considerably affect the working conditions, the progress of the thesis project or keeping the agreed schedule.
If a postgraduate student does not actively pursue studies, his or her right to study will be transferred to the passive register (University of Turku Regulation on Studies, Section 8). The postgraduate student?s right to study will be transferred to the passive register if he or she does not complete any courses for three academic years or if the student does not participate in supervision according to what has been agreed. The right to study will also be declared passive if the student has enrolled as a non-attending student or neglected to enrol during the last three academic years.
The right to study remains hidden in the passive register, which means that the right to study can be reactivated. The passive register does not mean that the student completely loses the right to study.
2. DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND DOCTOR OF SCIENCE (TECHNOLOGY) DEGREES
To achieve a PhD or DSc (Tech) degree, students must:
1) Complete a total of 60 credits of studies specified in the study plan.
The credits must come from an acceptable combination of studies in the field of research and should prepare the student for carrying out the work of a researcher and other demanding expert tasks. The studies may comprise courses from the faculty or from another institution or organisation; reading on the topic; field trips or attendance at scientific conferences; and publications not included in the thesis. Studies may also include general training events for researchers, as well as courses or coursework from other subjects that are related to the field of research or the thesis. Basic-level studies may only be included in exceptional, well-justified cases.
It is recommended to include approximately 6?10 credits of general postgraduate studies offered by the University of Turku Graduate School in the degree, such as studies in the philosophy of science, research ethics, higher education pedagogy, scientific communication, language studies, project work or management.
Postgraduate studies may not include studies already contained in the Master's degree; this applies to those who have completed their Master's degree after 1 August 2009.
2) Complete and publish a doctoral thesis accepted by the faculty after a public examination.
The thesis may be either a monograph or a collection of several scientific publications supplemented by a review of the publications (detailing the objectives, methods and outcomes of the research). The thesis may also contain manuscripts intended for publication, provided that at least around half of them have been approved for publication in peer-reviewed publication series. If the thesis consists of joint publications, a separate statement is provided, stating that the author contributed independently to the research to a sufficient extent.
The research director must ensure that the thesis is of the required extent and that the manuscript sent in for pre-examination fulfils the formal requirements for a doctoral thesis.
The aim is that it should be possible to complete the doctoral degree in four years' full-time study at post-Master's level.
3. LICENTITATE OF PHILOSOPHY AND LICENTIATE OF SCIENCE (TECHNOLOGY) DEGREES
To achieve a LicPhil or LicSci (Tech) degree, students must:
1) Fulfil the requirements given in section 1 above for doctoral degrees.
2) Complete a licentiate thesis accepted by the faculty.
The thesis may be a collection of several scientific publications supplemented by a review of the publications (detailing the objectives, methods and outcomes of the research). The publications may be collaborative, in which case the student?s independent contribution is ensured with a separate clarification. The licentiate thesis may also contain manuscripts intended for publication.
The aim is that it should be possible to complete the licentiate degree in two and a half years' full-time study at post-Master's level.
On admission to the faculty, postgraduate students are appointed a principal supervisor and one to two other supervisors if needed. The principal supervisor should be at least a docent and the other supervisors should hold a doctoral degree. The management group of the doctoral programme may change the appointed supervisor upon request by the student, supervisor or the research director.
The duties of the supervisor are, among others:
- to direct the student in planning and completing the postgraduate studies;
- to direct the student in planning and completing the research and completing the thesis;
- to follow the progress of research and postgraduate studies in accordance with the supervision plan;
- to assist the student in making contact with other researchers in the field and with the users of the research;
- to assist the student in applying for funding by providing information on available options.
5. RESEARCH DIRECTOR
On admission to the faculty, postgraduate students are appointed a research director. The research director must be a professor of the faculty. The research director may also be one of the supervisors. The management group of the doctoral programme may change the appointed research director upon request by the student, supervisor or the research director.
The duties of the research director are:
- to monitor the progress of the research work and postgraduate studies annually in collaboration with the supervisor;
- to assume responsibility for the scientific level of the degree;
- to ensure that the necessary conditions for the studies are maintained;
- to ensure that the thesis as a whole meets the requirements regarding the scope of theses;
- to make a proposal regarding the examiners of the licentiate thesis or the pre-examiners, opponent and custos of the doctoral thesis;
- to provide the faculty with a statement that indicates that the author made a sufficient independent contribution to the research if the thesis contains joint publications;
- to ensure that the intended final version of the licentiate thesis or the doctoral thesis is delivered to the examiners and faculty ( as pdf file to email@example.com) by the student, supervisor or research director immediately after the examiners have been appointed.
- to ensure that the doctoral thesis is delivered to the opponent by the student, supervisor or research director immediately after the opponent has been appointed.
6. SUPERVISION PLAN
The student and the supervisor will make a supervision plan on the application form, determining the responsibilities and duties of each party, and their commitment to the partnership.
Doctoral students can have a thesis advisory committee. The thesis advisory committee includes the supervisor and two or three researchers who are well versed in the research topic and come either from the possible research group or from outside it. The thesis advisory committee convenes at least once a year at the student?s initiative. The student must prepare well for the thesis advisory committee meetings in order to present his or her research and its progress to the group.
7. REGISTERING STUDY ATTAINMENTS
Completed parts of postgraduate studies (study attainments) must be registered in the departments. Students must ensure that attainments completed elsewhere are also recorded in the register. Studies completed outside of the faculty, attendance at conferences, publications, etc. must be recorded in such a way that the details of the original attainment are easy to trace.
8. EXAMINATION OF DOCTORAL THESIS AND LICENTIATE THESIS, AND PERMISSION FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE THESIS AT A PUBLIC EXAMINATION
The dean appoints at least two pre-examiners for the doctoral thesis, as well as one or more opponents and a custos for the public examination on the proposal of the research director. Generally, the thesis pre-examiners and opponent(s) should come from outside of the university. The pre-examiners and opponents, if possible, should have the qualification of a docent or equivalent scientific merit. In addition, the pre-examiners should primarily represent different departments or universities. Any deviation from these instructions must be justified in a statement by the research director.
The Faculty Council grants the permission for the defence of the thesis at a public examination on the basis of the pre-examiners? statement.
The custos reports to the faculty as to whether the correct procedure was followed at the public examination. The custos does not take part in the grading of the doctoral thesis.
The dean appoints at least two examiners for the licentiate thesis on the proposal of the research director. One of the examiners must represent the department to which the field of research belongs. The other examiner should come from outside of the university. If possible, the examiners should have the qualification of a docent or equivalent scientific merit.
The faculty sends for the examiners, opponents and custos the information that they have been appointed, instructions, and the possible clarification on the joint publications.
Neither the supervisor, the co-authors of any collaborative publications in the thesis, nor members of the thesis advisory committee may act as examiners, pre-examiners or opponents. A pre-examiner may not act as an opponent. The grounds for disqualification given in Section 28 of the Administrative Procedure Act (434/03) must be taken into account in the appointment of examiners and in the examination and acceptance of theses.
Prior to the appointment of pre-examiners and opponents for a doctoral thesis and prior to the appointment of examiners for a licentiate thesis, the author of the thesis is allowed to make a statement on the issue.
A language examiner may be appointed to check a thesis written in a language other than Finnish or Swedish.
EXAMINERS? STATEMENTS AND STUDENT?S RESPONSE
The pre-examiners of a doctoral thesis and the examiners of a licentiate thesis must provide their statement on the examination within two months of being appointed.
The opponent(s) must provide their statement within one month of the public examination.
If the statement is delayed, the faculty will contact the examiners or opponents if need be.
Prior to grading, the author of the thesis is granted the opportunity to respond to the examiners? and opponents? statements.
9. GUIDELINES FOR DOCTORAL CANDIDATES
The University of Turku has prepared Guidelines for the Doctoral Candidate (http://www.utu.fi/en/university/media/guidelines/index.html), which contain information on publishing and printing theses, booking a lecture hall for the public examination, reporting on the thesis, covering printing costs, the procedure at the public examination etc. The instructions are sent to doctoral students when they are notified of the permission for the defence of the thesis at a public examination granted by the faculty. Instructions can also be collected from the faculty office.
10. GRADING OF DOCTORAL AND LICENTIATE THESES
The Faculty Council decides on accepting doctoral and licentiate theses. Doctoral theses are graded as accepted with honours, accepted or rejected. In order to receive the grade accepted with honours, the thesis must belong to the top 10% of theses in its field internationally.
The grading of doctoral theses is performed on the basis of the statements from the opponent(s) and pre-examiners. If the opponent(s) and both pre-examiners agree that the thesis belongs to the top 10% of theses in its field internationally, the thesis can be accepted with honours.
Licentiate theses are graded as accepted or rejected. The faculty will either accept or reject the licentiate thesis on the basis of the examiners? statements.
At least the following items must be considered in grading a doctoral thesis and, where applicable, licentiate thesis:
- the significance, originality or novelty of the research setting in relation to other completed and ongoing research in the field in question;
- the justifiability of the chosen research methods, the originality of the methodology and the development of new methods;
- the theoretical or practical significance of the outcomes of the research;
- proof of familiarity with the field of research in question and the candidate?s ability to critically examine his or her own and other research;
- the coherence, clarity and other issues concerning the style of the presentation; and
- the ability of the author to defend the research in the public examination.
RECTIFICATION OF GRADES
Candidates may make a request for the rectification of their doctoral or licentiate thesis grade to the Faculty Council within 14 days of receiving the grade.
11. DEGREE CERTIFICATE
In order to receive the degree certificate, the candidate must complete an application. The application document can be printed from the faculty?s website, or it can be obtained from the faculty office. The student marks on the transcript of studies the courses that he or she has completed as postgraduate studies to be included in the degree.
The degree certificate details the student?s field of research, the topic of the licentiate or doctoral thesis and its grade. If necessary, the specific field according to Decree 568/2005 is given next to the field of research. The degree certificate can be provided in English upon request.
12. REGISTERING AS A POSTGRADUATE STUDENT
Postgraduate students must register as present at the university each academic year. Registration is dependent on the faculty granting the student the right to pursue postgraduate studies. All postgraduate students in the faculty?s doctoral programme must register regardless of the institution or organisation in which they pursue their studies.
This code of conduct comes into effect on 1 September 2011 and it rescinds the standing regulations for postgraduate studies and the student guide for postgraduate studies that came into effect on 1 August 2009. As for students who were admitted to study when the rescinded regulations were valid, the prior regulations can be followed when applicable.